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Home Fix It Show

Saturdays, 9am-12pm

Dave Baker

Home Fix It Show with Dave Baker

Resident household repair and home improvement expert, Dave Baker provides tips and advice on planning, building and fixing up around the house.   He rounds out his "toolbox of knowledge" by inviting home repair experts to answer any and all home improvement questions. Listen to Dave Baker Saturday's at 9am - Noon on News 95.5 AM750 WSB. 

For more information on Dave's appearances, guests, and more, visit his website: Thehomefixitpage.com, and be sure to check out his blog!
Grab your hammer and join the show! If you want to get the inside scoop on what's new in home improvement or if you're a 'do-it-yourselfer', you'll be listening to the Home Fix-It Show Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

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Home-Fix-It radio host Dave Baker offers seasonal advice for maintaining and upgrading the value of your home. Get tips ranging from “quick fixes around the house” to advice about hiring outside contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc.

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Recent Posts

  • I didn’t even know my air conditioner had a Johnson rod... 5 Things that are commonly wrong when your a/c unit goes on the fritz.. A note – these are 5 offenders when your a/c quits working. It is not an end-all beat-all list, but these are likely culprits. Listen for your hvac company to use these words… “It’s turned off.” Hopefully you won’t actually have a service tech out to your house to tell you this. Your hvac system has an on/off switch by the unit. It looks like a light switch. In a weak moment you might mindlessly walk out and flip it off thinking it is a light. Simply flip it back on and the system will re-start. “It’s your thermostat”. Hopefully you won’t actually have a service tech out to your house to tell you this either. Often a programmable thermostat, which runs on batteries, will shut down your system when the batteries for the thermostat are dead. Been there. Seen that. More than once. Pop the thermostat off the wall and replace batteries. Probably AA sized. Probably needs 3. You can probably only find two. Tough break.  Pop the thermostat back on and all should be right with the world.  “It’s a capacitor”. Not a flux-capacitor, but your outside unit has a capacitor in it the size of a Coke can’ish. When it goes, you will still feel air out your vents, although it will be warm air, but your outside unit will not be running (and thus the motor will be getting warm). I repeat, your outside unit will NOT be running at all. This is actually a pretty simple DIY fix if you are handy and can read a wiring diagram. Drawback – you would have to order the capacitor from a parts company – they aren’t carried in big box stores. So figure a three-day wait at least for parts. Call a pro. With this problem from the time they get to your house to the time you have cool air blowing again will be about 7 minutes. It’s worth it.  “It’s your compressor”. Often proceeded by a high squealing sound. When your compressor goes bad you are through getting cool air until a pro can install a new one. Once again you may still be feeling air blowing from your vents, but it will not be cool air.  If the compressor is malfunctioning, it won’t be able to turn the refrigerant gas into a liquid – a vital step towards allowing it to cool the air. (Or rather if you will, removing the hot air from your inside air.) Maybe, possible DIY, but this is a much bigger job than the capacitor is and again you have to wait for parts. (Sensing a theme here?). This is why there are HVAC companies. If you don’t have a good one, call me and I will hook you up with one.  “You are low on refrigerant.” Ahhh, the dreaded refrigerant leak. This is often evidenced by the ice on your indoor unit.  Yes, it does sound backwards, but not enough refrigerant causes ice and no cool air. This can be an absolute pain in the neck as refrigerant leaks can be difficult ($$) to find and to fix.  You cannot do this yourself as you need to be certified to buy it and trap the old refrigerant so it does not get released into the atmosphere. Do NOT use the refrigerant for a car in your home system. Yes – I am looking at you Mr. Steve my next door neighbor. One more thing… If your unit stops producing cool air, A – number one thing to do is to change your filter. An especially dirty filter could be a cause of everything. Try it.
  • Q – I seem to have an abundance of mosquitoes in my back yard. How can I get rid of them? JoAnn in Stockbridge  A – You can move. Anything else will take some effort on your part. Skeeters can breed in any sized pool of standing water in your yard. In a bucket or pail, in an old tire used for a tire swing or a sandbox, in your gutters, in your yard itself. Anywhere you have standing water, even the smallest of drops, you have a skeeter breading ground. And guess what we have had an abundance of lately. Right. Water. Therefore the first step is to keep standing water out of your yard. To help aid in getting rid of them permanently you will have to enlist the help of a pest control company. They can do a monthly spray (the spray is only effective for about 30 days) during peak skeeter season which will help keep down the population. When I say ‘peak skeeter season’ that means as long as temperatures are over 70 degrees, so we have a lot of those months to go yet. You want to make sure that the skeeter folks use a spray that won’t harm the little pollinators in your yard, the bees, the butterflies etc. (It is also good to go with a company that offers monthly service. Frees you and your checkbook up a little, although a good skeeter company is worth their weight in bat poo...) The spray will help keep the skeeter population down, but you may not ever be totally skeeter free. What should you use if you are trying to enjoy your deck or patio? Do mosquito candles work? Ehhhh. Bug zappers? Not really. Smoke? Doubt it. The best thing for keeping skeeters away from you on the patio or deck is a good old-fashioned oscillating fan. That’s right – a plain old oscillating house fan is probably your best bet. Skeeters are notoriously weak fliers so the breeze of the fan will help blow them away from you. Extra info. You never feel the mosquito biting you. You don’t feel them until after they have already had their fill of your blood, which is another reason why they are such a pain in the rear. Or arm. Or leg. Or neck… One more thing. Know what keeps mosquito population down?  Bats. Look into building a bat house and maybe attracting some of those up-side-down sleeping, mosquito eating, guano pooping creatures. Might be just what you are looking for.
  • Q – I think the water pressure in my house is way too high. I checked the pressure with a gauge and it was over 100 psi. What should I do? Stan in Buford  A – It could very well be that your water pressure is over 100 psi, and if that is the case then your water pressure is way too high. However it’s possible that you haven’t given enough info. For instance, if you checked the water pressure on the outdoor spigot in the front of your house, it is probably still ok. Spigots on the front of houses is often run off the street pressure. As your house water pipe runs toward the house, it can branch off before it gets there to feed the front spigot. Water pressure should always be checked off the back spigot. That will give you a true measure of your house’s water pressure. Now if you are still over 100, then you have some pressure valve issues going on in your house and you will need a plumber to come out and probably replace your house pressure valve. I would do that sooner rather than later. FYI – your house’s pressure valve should be checked every 3-4 years’ish just to make sure everything is cool.
  • Q – We have discovered chipmunks living in our yard. They appear to be getting closer to the house. We don’t have any real issues yet, but there may come a day. What do we do? Lauri in Duluth  A – Ok, this is not going to be good news… If the chipmunks are not disturbing you or your landscaping or your house and you enjoy watching them, then watch them. As they are getting closer to the house, their tunnels may start to compromise the ground beneath your walkways or your driveways or your foundation, or trees or flowers or gardens, and at that point it’s time to send Theodore and the boys packing. For me (and this may just be for me) the best way to get rid of them is to get a cat or a dog (I prefer a dog). Let it spend some quality time outdoors and your population of chipmunks should start to dwindle. If you don’t want to go that route, you can buy live traps and trap them. Hav-A-Hart (no. 0) or Tomahawk (no. 102) are about the correct size. However, and this is where it gets kinda yucky, the DNR says that if you trap chipmunks you must euthanize them. To put that bluntly, you have to kill them. There is no catch and release. Homeowners cannot legally trespass on other property to release trapped animals. And it is illegal to release trapped animals on county, state, or federal lands. So that is the fate of your chipmunks.  Good luck. More from Dave Baker >>
  • Allow me to be the first to apologize. I understand that there are a lot of you out there listening to the Home Fix-It show Saturday mornings from 9 til noon and, well, you may have no idea what we are talking about. That is my fault. Sometimes I/we get to throwing around terms without explaining them. While I try not to do that, it happens. So here is a list of large ideas that get tossed around on the show and basically what I am referring to in the context of the show when I use them… Encapsulation. Encapsulation is the name used when you fix your crawlspace so it isn’t the dank, damp, moldy thing that makes crawlspaces so loveable. It includes putting plastic on the floor, sealing the vents, making provisions for water leakage and dehumidifying.  We like it because it vastly improves your indoor air quality. It can be a bit pricey, but it is money very well spent. Mini-split system. A mini-split system is a small, ductless heating and air unit that works great in places like basements and bonus rooms where you might not have your house hvac system linked in. I like them because they can turn unusable or uncomfortable space into well-conditioned, usable rooms. They can also aid in mold prevention. Blown-in insulation. In my small little brain there are basically two kinds of insulation: spray-in foam and blown-in insulation. Spray-in foam in your attic goes in over your head, while the blown-in insulation goes on the ‘floor’ area of your attic. There are several types of blown-in insulation including fiberglass and cellulose. Each have their pluses and minuses. So while you ‘spray’ or ‘blow’ in both types of insulation, when we talk blown-in we are speaking of the stuff on the attic floor and not the foam. Electronic damper system. This system goes into your ductwork and open/closes off ducts blocking (or forcing) air from flowing through some ductwork when the thermostat says that the temperatures in the rooms serviced by those ducts has been met. Huh? Say you have Room A which is always hot and Room B which is comfortable. If your thermostat is in Room B, it will shut off the air when that temp is met, leaving Room A hot. An electric damper system will see that Room A is still hot and just shut off the air to Room B so Room A will continue to receive cool air until it gets cool. Very nice product. If your problem with a room too hot and/or too cold is too bad you can opt for a mini-split system (see above). Recirculating pump. This is a plumbing device that continually circulates hot water through your hot water pipes so that when you call for hot water it is right there and you don’t have to waste time, and water, waiting for hot water to get to that faucet. These are generally a good deal, but can be a little tricky to set up if you have a tankless water heater. Not so tricky tho to discourage you from getting either a tankless water heater or a recirculating pump. Stack effect. Perhaps the granddaddy of all the terms used on the show. Very basically the stack effect is what happens as hot air leaves your house through your attic. The air that replaces it is generally air from the floor below which you paid to heat and/or cool. That air moving into the attic is replaced by basement air or crawlspace air or outside air – just think of the whole house as a smoke stack with air leaving the top being replaced by air below it. The stack effect is a great, if not number 1 reason you need to seal your house the best you can. Your goal is to heat or cool the air in your house then hold on to that air as long as you can. Insulation, caulk, foam, weather-stripping, house wrap – those are all things that help you fight the stack effect. There is a basic primer. Never be afraid to call and ask questions if something pops up that you don’t understand. The best way to keep your largest investment running and to save money is to ask questions. Talk to you soon…

News

  • The body of a woman who went missing while kayaking on a Troup County lake has been found. Someone called sheriff’s officials about 9 a.m. Monday to say they saw a body in the water, authorities said. Just after noon, the sheriff’s office confirmed the body was that of Maranda Whitten, 24, of Valley, Ala.  “The search for Maranda Whitten has unfortunately been suspended,” sheriff’s Sgt. Stewart Smith said in an emailed statement. “Maranda was found earlier this morning, a victim of an apparent drowning. As standard procedure her body will be sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be Maranda’s family. We appreciate all those who have gave of their time and resources during this time.” Whitten’s body was found with an extension cord, which was missing from the campground, tied to her ankles, then tied to a large rock, he said. Her death is being treated as a suicide, according to Smith. Whitten was last seen Friday. Officials said she was on a family camping trip at Shaefer Heard Park when she disappeared while kayaking on West Point Lake, which is about 82 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.  “Around 12:30 p.m., some campers saw her kayaking out in the water and shortly after that, a storm came through and around 2:30 her kayak was seen floating into the water with the paddle and the life jacket,' Smith said. Investigators from the sheriff's office, several other agencies and some civilian volunteers searched Saturday and Sunday for Whitten.
  • Fans swarmed the Varsity’s Midtown restaurant Saturday to get 90-cent deals on the iconic chili-dog chain’s 90th anniversary. It was an all-hands-on-deck day for the North Avenue landmark: Members of the family that owns the restaurant directed traffic in the jammed parking lot and had to turn away the overflow. But the family faces bigger tests for the business. One is how to grow it. The other is more basic. “We want the brand to survive all of our generations,” said John Browne, the Varsity’s vice president and husband of one of Varsity founder Frank Gordy’s grandchildren. Another of Gordy’s grandchildren, Gordon Muir, is the Varsity’s president, and a great-grandchild, Ashley Weiser, oversees the chain’s marketing. “We are on generation four,” Browne said. “We are studying how to make this last through generation 10.” » RELATED: Growing up in Athens, the Varsity’s other hometown » RELATED: Photos of the Varsity through the years » RELATED: Podcast makes a visit to the Varsity Some decisions are taking longer than expected. They’ve been contemplating opening a restaurant in Winder for about five years. They’ve considered another in Auburn, Alabama, for maybe a decade. More recently they bought nearly the entire block around their Athens restaurant at the corner of Broad Street and Milledge Avenue and tore down buildings of other businesses that had been there. What will they ultimately use the land for? “We don’t know that yet,” Browne said. “Right now we are planting grass.” “This family is a generational investor,” he said. “We have learned we are better at purchasing and owning land, not developing it. We are just worn-out old hot dog men.” The Varsity, which opened in 1928, is owned by the founder’s daughter and her two surviving biological children. But a bigger group of family members — 22 in all — are convening for a retreat in September to discuss the family business. They had a somewhat similar gathering earlier this year, and they’ve hired a family business consultant to help them as they think about the future of the company. More than two years ago they brought in a consultant to help them survey customers and contemplate potential future restaurant locations.  But they haven’t opened a new stand-alone restaurant since locating one in Dawsonville several years ago. (They also closed one in Alpharetta.) » RELATED: Photo gallery from Saturday’s birthday bash One part of the business will remain constant, Browne said. “We are not changing anything as far as the food.” That continues to be a draw. So does generational customer loyalty, passed down from parents to children. That and 90-cent prices Saturday attracted big crowds to the intown Varsity near Georgia Tech. Hundreds of people stood outside in lines that snaked through the parking lot. One woman said she waited 40 minutes just to get to the threshold of one of the restaurant’s entrances. Cars were backed up along Spring Street. “I’ve been here 33 years,” said Gordon Muir, The Varsity’s president, “and I’ve never seen a line out the door and to the sidewalk.” Another first, he said: They repeatedly had to turn drivers away from the packed parking lot. A vintage firetruck that was part of the planned party had to be turned away initially; there was no room for it. Some customers put in giant orders: 150 to 200 hot dogs each, Muir said. All the Varsity’s stand-alone locations were “very busy,” he said. Pam Aiken made the trek to Midtown from her home in Snellville. “I’ve been coming here since birth almost,” said the 72-year-old, who grew up in Atlanta. It was a top spot as a teenager after movies. Carhops, she said, would jump on the hoods or trunks of customers’ cars and ride them in. The food, Aiken said, “is an acquired taste.” She planned to order her usual: chili steak, onion rings or fries and a P.C. (a cup of plain chocolate milk drizzled over shaved ice, according to The Varsity’s unique lingo). Sonya Ferguson, 59, of Decatur remembered her dad bringing her Varsity meals as a child. She came back Saturday for more. She said she isn’t sure the family who owns The Varsity really wants it to get much bigger, given the potential risks for any business making dramatic changes. Perhaps, she said, “they like it just the way it is.” »THE ACCESSATLANTA PODCAST GOES TO THE VARSITY  At ajc.com/podcasts, check out our weekly accessAtlanta podcast’s visit to the Varsity in advance of the 90th anniversary celebration. Hear interviews with staff and customers and get the story of the beloved fast-food spot’s past, present and future from president Gordon Muir.
  • A firefighter died last week from falling tree debris after thousands of gallons of retardant were dropped on the area where he was helping battle California's largest-ever wildfire, according to a preliminary report from investigators. The summary report by California fire officials says Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett was struck by debris on Aug. 13 at the Mendocino Complex Fire. Three other firefighters had minor injuries. Funeral services for the 42-year-old Burchett were held Monday in his home state of Utah. He is survived by a wife and 7-year-old son. The two-paragraph summary calls for an immediate corrective action, saying firefighters must remain clear of areas with overhead hazards during a retardant drop. Paul Grenier, a spokesman for California's firefighting agency, said he couldn't provide more details because the investigation is continuing. That includes disclosing the type of aircraft involved, why the four firefighters were underneath, or even if all four firefighters were from the same unit. 'Eventually that information will be released,' he said, but perhaps not for weeks. 'They're going to get their i's dotted and their t's crossed.' Cliff Allen, president of the union representing state wildland firefighters, said he understood investigators were still conducting interviews, but said fire supervisors should have made sure the firefighters were well clear of the drop zone. 'Operations will contact air attack and say 'We want to concentrate drops in this area of the fire,'' he said. 'It's the job between air attack and operations to make sure the area is clear of personnel or that it's clearly marked where personnel are on the ground.' There also could have been a radio miscommunication or the crew may not have heard or chose to ignore the radio warning, he said, though that's part of what's being investigated. He cautioned that it's not clear from the preliminary report whether the tree was weakened from the fire or from the retardant drop, or if the firefighters were hit by fire retardant slurry, which is a mixture of water, fertilizer and red dye. 'Anytime you're working in trees, you have trees that are fire weakened, then strong winds or water or retardant drops could potentially cause them to fall and possibly injure folks,' he said. 'It's often referred to as 'widow makers.'' Modified DC-10s can drop 12,000 gallons (45,424 liters) of slurry, 12 times the amount carried by the standard smaller air tanker used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It can lay a swath of fire retardant as wide as a football field for as long as a mile. CalFire says the modified 747 can drop 24,000 gallons, double that of the DC-10. It uses a system that can release the slurry under pressure or as gently as falling rain from an altitude as low as 400 feet (122 meters). Lead planes guide in the huge aircraft, showing them where to go and when to start and stop slurry drops.
  • New Zealand’s minister for women rode her bicycle “mostly downhill” to a hospital Sunday to give birth, The New York Times reported. >> Read more trending news  Julie Anne Genter, 38, who is also associate minister for health and transport, posted pictures on social media of herself and her partner, Peter Nunns, enjoying a “beautiful Sunday morning” ride to the hospital, the Times reported. “There wasn’t enough room in the car for the support crew. ... but it also put me in the best possible mood!” Genter wrote on Instagram. Genter, who is 42 weeks pregnant, will become the second government official in New Zealand to give birth this year. Prime Minister Jacinda Aldern gave birth in June, the Times reported. Genter, who was expecting her first child, was scheduled to be induced at an Auckland hospital, the newspaper reported. Genter, who grew up in Los Angeles, emigrated to New Zealand in 2006. She has had two miscarriages, the NZ Herald reported. She is expected to take three months off from Parliament before returning to her post in November, the newspaper reported.
  • Two people are dead after rip currents forced several rescues at a New Hampshire beach. >> Read more trending news  Seven swimmers were pulled from the water at Seabrook Beach, near 131 Ocean Drive, just after 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Seabrook Police said two of the people were unconscious when they were brought to shore. The beach does not have lifeguards, but lifeguards from nearby Hampton Beach helped pull a man from the water around 12:59 p.m. He was transported to the hospital where he later died. New Hampshire State Police have not released his identity, but said the victim is a 49-year-old Methuen man. 'They were probably three-quarters of a mile out from what I could see,' Rich Ferrara said. 'Pretty intense.' A 47-year-old woman was transported to the Seabrook Emergency Room and was pronounced dead Monday morning. Officials said the two were married. 'I've never seen anything like that, where so many people were in trouble,' Ferrara said Seabrook Police said an officer helped several of the people to shore before helping in the search for the last person, who was unaccounted for at the time. 'One of the police arrived and stripped down, took off his gun belt,' Ferrara said. 'He dove into the water and started swimming out because there were people screaming that there were girls missing.' >> Trending: 14-year-old surfer bitten by shark off North Carolina coast The officer was one of the first to jump in, helping to bring everyone involved to shore. 'He pulled a woman in, she wasn't breathing when he finally got her in,' Linda Farrell said. The Seabrook Fire Department, along with Seabrook Beach Patrol were the main responding agencies in the incident.
  • A Utah woman wasn’t going to let the man she said was trying to record her daughter who trying on clothes in a store’s changing room get away. Police said the woman chased down Jorge Leon-Alfara after witnesses said the 36-year-old man was trying to record the woman’s daughter from a changing room next to the teen at a Rue 21 in Salt Lake City, KSTU reported. The mother recorded the man, and the comments she made to him, as they waited for police.  The woman called him a predator, saying, “This right here is what a predator looks like. I caught this guy underneath my daughter’s stall while she was changing at Rue 21.” She warned Leon-Alfara that she was going to make sure people knew what she said he did, KSTU reported. “Not today, buddy Not today,” the mother said. “I’m going to make sure your face gets out, so that you’re not in any more stalls, looking under little girls dressing.”  The video was uploaded to Facebook where it has been watched millions of times.  Police attribute people being aware of what was happening for being able to arrest Leon-Alfaro who now faces felony charges of voyeurism of a child under 14, KSTU reported. >> Read more trending news